Proteins schmoteins

The other night, I happened to open the TV, when the Ultimate Survival (Man vs. Wild in the U.S.A.) was on, and I have to admit that it was rather entertaining to follow a guy doing things I wish I never have to do. It was nice to learn ways to get across alligator infested rivers, to see how to descent to safety from the Siberian mountains using a self made sled, and things like that.

In my opinion, it is absolutely OK to show to the public some semi-suicidal tricks, which may, or may not help you if you happen to fall into the Zambesi river, or if you are stranded in the Siberian mountains, or if the zombies kidnap you, but what bugged the hell out of me, was the constant search of freaking proteins! The main man of the show spent ridiculous amount of time advertising how important it is to find the most protein rich worms to survive. Not a word about carbohydrates or fat!

Where do these professional survivors get their nutrition info? From some Swarzenegger wanna be at the local gym?

Well, of course the hero of the show looks more manly and heroic eating nasty maggots, tarantulas etc., than munching leaves and grass like some pathetic bunny rabbit, but seriously, it is highly unlikely that any of the viewers of the show ever falls into the Zambesi river and hurts themselves following the advice from the show, where as quite a many of the recreational hikers get lost every now and then, and they are facing, if following the instructions from the show, a serious risk of getting starved to death while searching for the most protein rich snail from a salad bowl.

Humans get 40 to 60 % of their energy needs from carbohydrates, 30 to 40 % from fat, and just 10 to 20 % from proteins. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel of the body. When the carbohydrate resources in the muscles and the liver are exhausted, the body begins to utilize the next best thing, fat. Proteins are, in practice, the last of the main nutrients the body wants as a source of energy. The body begins to utilize proteins, i.e. melting its own muscles, as an energy source only after a long period of malnutrition.

Yes, I am familiar with the facts that the body needs a constant source of proteins, and it cannot produce them without outside sources, but the funny thing is that if one can find enough carbohydrates and fat to survive, usually from plants, fish, and animals, the essential proteins automatically follow as a free side dish, where as the opposite seldom happens. In a survival situation, the most important nutritional goal is to find enough energy to get out of the situation, not to build up the muscle mass, and do not take me wrong, if you find proteins, eat them, but the essential nutrients to be searched for are carbohydrates and fats, not proteins.

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